This allows for more visuals than a normal book may allow
Clear and easy to follow
Highlighted terms that make understanding easier
I did not like how terms were recycled and redefined chapters later – very abnormal for a textbook.
Almost seems as if it is intended for a high school level environmental science course
I appreciated having a book like this for this course because I feel that sometimes we can get caught up in the biases of an author
Very interesting case studies to tie information to real world application
For example, one child rule in chapter 2
Aside from the more complex economic topics, I have been familiarized with almost all of the topics and themes of this book through OWU courses such as Conservation Biology, Population and Community Ecology, Seminars, and Environmental Alteration.
The repetition of terms is partially because the themes are so interconnected.
For example, in the chapter about nuclear power there is a reiteration of hazards and risks.
This shows that the topics are not isolated issues
This is almost like a real-life approach to the issues where different topics and approaches must be considered and how they relate to one another
Chapter 2: Population and Scarcity
Population is limited by diseases and availability of resources
How societal conditions relate to population (i.e. literact and birth rates)
Human population growth is directly linked to sustainability
Environmental impacts on a population will vary by their affluence and accessibility of technology
Chapter 3: Markets and Commodities
Look at the environment as a commodity with a value
Way to regulate resources
Market based mechanisms as management techniques
Green taxes, etc.
Difficult to assign monetary values to environmental goods and services
Chapter 4: Institutions and Commons
Individuals usually choose personal, instantaneous gain over gains that are distant but for the collective good
Tragedy of the Commons: selfishness overcomes foresight
Common properties can be preserved with the right management approaches and collaboration of institutions and individuals
Cooperation may be hindered by social, political, and economic inequalities
Chapter 5: Environmental Ethics
First, I was worried that this chapter would become highly opinionated, but it remained fairly neutral. I think it is nearly impossible for an author or reader to not have an emotional response to a section about ethics.
Anthropocentric vs ecocentric
Conservation vs preservation
Acknowledge that nature has utilitarian value for mankind
Do not have to be separated
Chapter 6: Risks and Hazards
Hazards vs risks
Think of environmental problems as hazards
New way of decision making
Separation of risk and emotion
Evaluating risks may be a societal or social construct
Different groups have different exposures to risks as well as have different priorities based on what risks they are facing
Chapter 7: Political Economy
I enjoyed the cartoon… these types of figures and notes in the book gives the text more “personality” than a traditional textbook.
Intersections of politics and economics in an environmental context
Tension for economic gains to exploit natural resources
Environmental justice and ecofeminism
Chapter 8: Social Construction of Nature
Does normal = natural? No
Back to beginning of this course – what is nature?
Cronon, Meadowlands, Thoreau, Abbey, etc.
Although not necessarily correct, this can have large impacts on politics
May lead to inappropriate or uninformed decision making
Does this cause for a dismissal of science?
Social constructs heavily influence our way of thinking
Chapter 9: Carbon Dioxide
This point is a shift in the book from more over-arching social themes of environmental science to issue-based topics.
Relationship of carbon emissions and industrialization
Creation of carbon-dependent society
Idea of greenwashing
Combination of economic and institutional approaches for management
Carbon cycles and climate change
Chapter 10: Trees
Changes in tree cover globally
Society has emotional attachment to trees
Forest destruction vs recovery
Forests are a highly valued commodity
Chapter 11: Wolves
History is entirely shaped by human interactions
Life-history of the wolf
Keystone species making it important for preservation of biodiversity
Chapter 12: Uranium
Worth the danger?
Weapons vs energy
Reduce electricity and therefore carbon footprint
History of disaster
Risk of pollution and other environmental impacts
No solution for waste disposal
Mining is harmful
Chapter 13: Tuna
I enjoyed the reference to Blood Diamond
Tuna have been unsustainably harvested for years
New technologies have made it more detrimental in practice because bycatch and overall environmental impacts
Had to appeal to the charismatic dolphin to gain political support by altering the social construct of tuna
Why do we not see tuna the same way we see other animal rights
Think about factory farms
Chapter 14: Lawns
Part of our society and culture
Hazardous to health and ecosystems
We still use them knowing these risks because of the higher concern for cultural acceptance…
I have to have a green yard so my neighbors aren’t angry….
Grew into multi-billion dollar industry
Chapter 15: Bottled Water
Becoming a primary source of drinking water worldwide
Social construct of superiority
Health and safety
Production, packaging, and dispersal are environmentally unfriendly
Proven to not be advantageous over tap water
Commoditization of nature
Chapter 16: French Fries
Random chapter but interesting
Viewed as having broader political implications than just an individual choice
Problems with biodiversity
Risks to both human and ecosystem health
Chapter 17: E-Waste
Environmental justice issue
Dumping in poor countries
Increasing with increased consumption of electronics
Risks to public health as well as broader environment
Inconsistent regulations make management difficult
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Ohio Wesleyan University